Case Closed

I often pride myself on having knowledge of new tech things where I work and especially when I talk to my family.  The number of times I have walked my mother through recording “Dancing with the Stars” on the built in DVR would look like a prisoner making tick marks on the wall of a jail cell for a life sentence.  That being said… being in a room full of people who have made use of iPads, recorders, and other techie objects for the betterment of their classrooms takes some of that zip out of my stride (in all the best ways).  So when my iPad case started turning heads I figured I’d take a minute and spread the good word about this tasty little tech nugget.  I was told of a case at Brookstone (most likely at every other similar store) that was $99 and came with a built in keyboard.  This seemed like a great idea because I frequently take notes in classes and meeting and would much rather carry my iPad than a laptop if possible.  So I started hunting the interwebs and finally to a site that I typically visit only for kitschy gifts.  ThinkGeek.com wound up having some really great tech gadgets for a reasonable price.  So I bought this tri-fold case and have had the chance to dork around on it.  Basically, it comes with a keyboard (condensed to fit the size of the iPad) with some basic controls for the iPad.  It has volume controls on the keyboard, much like most macs, with the addition of a home button that when double clicked opens the search screen for the iPad.  It connects to the iPad via Bluetooth so it requires a one-time super-easy setup and charges via a USB cable (included in the package!!!…wow…its like free…kinda).  It also kick stands onto the keyboard so it keeps the screen tilted like a laptop would be.  Overall, It has been great so far.  My one complaint is that I’d still like to have another case, either thinner or with a hand grip, for doing small group presentations / demonstrations.  Anyway, the link is below.  Enjoy!

And if you get a chance, the StayPuft caffeinated marshmallows are a bargain as well… just an idea…

http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/keyboards-mice/e65a/

 

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iOS4.3 – Audio/Video Mirroring is Here!

From my perspective as an educator, perhaps the most enticing new feature on the iPad2 is the ability to send a video signal to a projector or TV that allows others so see everything. I have missed this feature sorely when I have wanted to connect my iPad to a projector and use it to demonstrate. I wanted to show my real time actions on iPad like I would with a laptop to navigate to Web sites and model other tasks. To do this with iPad, iPad 2, iPhone4 and iPod touch (4th gen) one will need the Apple Digital AV Adapter (sold separately). See also this engadget article. And thanks to a reader comment for the correct info that this is an iOS4.3 feature, not an isolated iPad 2 feature. It appears that apple has updated their website to explain the mirroring with the new adapter is only possible with the iPad 2. Thanks to the comment by reader Phil Mabey (see comment below).

I am also intrigued as I consider the implications of two cameras and the thinner, slightly lighter design.  I will be interested to read what others find interesting as educational applications of the new iPad 2 and iOS4 new release.

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What will you do with the iPad2?

Well my friends, it arrives in stores on March 11th.  Two integrated cameras, smaller, lighter, faster, and it even comes with its own magnetic cover!

Begs the question… what will you do with your iPad 2?  And for your ArtsEducator2.0 project participants – no, we aren’t getting you an iPad 2.  We do trust, however, that it won’t be long until you find a way to get one into your hands, and to make your first generation iPad a tool for your students to use!  Good luck!

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Meet me on the Holo Deck?

Until the iPad comes with a camera, this post may not be appropriate on a blog exploring iPads in education, but it there are so many exciting possibilities that I just had to add it; if only for future new generation iPad users who will own the long promised iPads with cameras. Drum roll please, the holo deck has arrived!

At the recent Pennsylvania Educational Technology and Expo Conference, I attended a truly fabulous session by Jeff Mummert of Derry Township School District entitled “Augmented Reality: The Educational Possibilities”. Many of you reading this are far more tech savvy then I, and have already been playing around with augmented reality, so I ask your pardon if I digress. For those who may not have heard of AR, let me begin with a brief introduction.

Augmented reality can best be defined as the layering of digital information (images, data, links, etc.) on the real world. Fighter pilots experience augmented reality routinely. The clear shields on the flight deck project augmented reality data that help them pilot the plane and follow targets. If you watched the super bowl (or any TV football) you’ve experienced it. The first down line projected on your screen was done with augmented reality technology. In Europe, “football” (read soccer) fans see the ads running along the barriers using augmented reality. There are two ways to send the code that produces the images; either through the use of geographical “markers” that employ GPS type technology or by using a printed QR code attached to the location or object you wish to enhance.

Esquire magazine generated quite a bit of excitement by printing a QR code on their cover that allowed the reader to access special expanded features using 3-D images.

There are augmented reality mob flash events attended by Darth Vadar and Papa Smurf and augmented reality tours of historical places using markers. You can even view the original Berlin Wall using AR and your iPhone or Android. For a more whimsical example, check out the Wall Street Bull as viewed through the iPhone


(Photo credit CNN Money: http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2010/technology/1011/gallery.augmented_reality.fortune/index.html

The most exciting thing however, is the implications for education. Mr. Mummert’s social studies classes have been developing augmented reality aps that allow an iPhone or Android user to view Derry Township as it was in the early 1800’s – including 3-D models of buildings that once existed with GPS on their former locations. The students have developed “history trunks” filled with objects from the township’s past that have been affixed with augmented reality codes so that images and web links pop up on demand. The trunks are linked to a children’s book the students have written about a young girl from the past. The children’s book also contains embedded augmented reality codes and directions to actual sites around town that when visited glow with an augmented reality image of objects in the story. Mr. Mummert’s students obtained old iPhones from school administrators who had upgraded, and the iPhones are packaged with the trunks which will tour the area elementary schools.

Currently anyone can become an augmented reality developer. What an opportunity! Check out the aps or become a developer yourself at http://www.layar.com/ or Arttoolkit.

And think of the possibilities for Arts Education! The Pete and C presentation got me dreaming, then I heard about this exhibit that brings media arts to a whole new experiential level, and raises important questions of ownership of the very space around us. The MOMA in partnership with Apple, created an augmented reality Art exhibit which my next gen son tells me was then pirated by other media artists who used the codes to share their own “unauthorized” exhibit of works.

Just for fun, you can check out ten amazing augmented reality aps at Mashup or subscribe to the augmented reality blog at wordpress. Then come and join me on the holo deck!

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Got Web2.0 Tools?

Blogging over at the Red Cig Blog (Artandmusictechmaste[RED])… Got Web2.o Tools?

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It Will Be One for the “Record Books”

With just a week to go before our next ArtsEducator 2.0 gathering, the excitement is mounting.  We are looking forward to working again with some incredible young musicians from Pittsburgh, Cello Fury. Our faculty faciltator and co-blogger,  David Berlin, has been working on some great activities which will connect the iPad to Cello Fury’s performance!

In a nutshell, David has created an original composition for Cello Fury to play next Friday.  Once we have engaged in critical response to the work, David will engage all of us who own an iPad, in a techno-jam-session.  He has created a list of “rules to follow” in assisting our playing along with Cello Fury, to ensure that the combined performance is thoughtful as well as tuneful.  David has even submitted a proposal to the Guinness Book of World Records for their consideration of the event as the first entry for “the World’s Largest iPad Band.”  While the record may not last long, it should be fun for our arts educators to be able to list on their resume’s that they’ve been part of such a record breaking event!

We hope to livestream the event from our wikipage here.  Please join us the morning of Friday, March 4th to see us attempt to make history!

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A Brush with Genius

I’ve tried using my Targus stylus for some basic drawings on my iPad.  It did not go well, mostly because I have very little artistic ability.  But while some people have managed to do some pretty impressive artwork with a Sharpie, there was some actual talent behind it, too.  Talent, which, sadly, I lack.  Unlike Daniel Chan, the artist behind Angels on the Moon (left), which was done entirely with a Sharpie.  My drawings tend to look more like the drawing on the right.

But, if you want to try your hand at painting with your iPad, and not have the Sharpie effect, you should check out the Nomad Brush, priced at $24/each.

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